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Wednesday, 16 March 2016

The Giant Panda Survive

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Giant pandas are very rare animals found mainly in the Western Szechwan province of southwest China. They are bears with has black fur on the ears, eye patches, nose, legs and shoulders. The rest of the animal’s coat is white. Many find this chunky animal to be cute. However, giant pandas can be dangerous as any other bears.

Giant pandas are robust members of the bear family with a distinctive black and white coat. Their head and body length is 120 to 190 cm, and adults weigh 85 to 125 kg. Specialized features include broad, flat molars modified for crushing, and an enlarged wristbone functioning as an opposable thumb — both adaptations for eating bamboo. The giant panda’s diet consists almost entirely of the leaves, stems and shoots of various bamboo species; although they occasionally eat meat. A giant panda may consume 12 to 18 kg of bamboo a day to meet its energy requirements.

Giant pandas inhabit the bamboo forest zone between 1,200 m and 3,400 m. Formerly they were found in riverine valleys at lower elevations, but these areas are now settled by humans. Giant pandas are generally solitary, each adult having a well-defined home range. A male’s home range overlaps with those of several females. Although encounters are rare outside the brief mating season, pandas communicate fairly often mostly through vocalization and scent marking.

Giant pandas reach sexual maturity between 4.5 and 7.5 years.  After a gestation period of about five months, females give birth to a single young or sometimes twins. Wild giant pandas bear a cub every two years or more.  Newborns are tiny, weighing only 100 to 160 grams. Cubs start eating bamboo at about one year of age, but remain with their mother until she conceives again, usually when the cub is about 18 months old. Infant mortality in the wild is lower than in captivity, and is estimated at around 40%.

Giant pandas are very carefree and love to spend most of their time alone climbing bamboo trees. They are skillful climbers and they are also good at climbing to avoid predators. They eat mostly bamboo leaves and shoots, but they can also eat fruit, grass, birds, and fish.

Here are 3 Fun Facts about Pandas!

1. The giant panda has been on the endangered species list since 1990. The most serious threats to pandas are habitat loss and poaching.

2. Pandas have been a symbol of peace in China. For example, hundreds of years ago, warring tribes in China would raise a flag with a picture of a panda on it to stop a battle or a call of agreement.

3. The eyespots of a giant panda cub are originally in the shape of a circle. As the cub grows, the circles become shaped like a teardrop.

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